Grant Language Made Easy: 3 Types of Grants to Get

As you may or may not know acronyms are grants best-friends.

If you’ve heard the terms FOA, RFP, SAM, DUNS, or a number of other terms, then you are in the grant world.

I once heard a grant writer speak an entire sentence using only acronyms!

Ugh! If you are overwhelmed already, don’t worry, I’m going to start breaking it down right now!

Let’s first dissect the main different types of grants and contracts.

There are federal grants, state contracts, and foundation grants. Think of those like your three main hubs.

Federal Grants

Federal grants are monies allocated from the federal government.

There are more than 900 grant programs offered by the 26 federal grant-making agencies. These programs fall into 20 categories. These categories include topics such as Agriculture, Food & Nutrition, and Community Development.

Yes, there are a ton of federal grants.

State and Local Government Contracts & Grants

State and local government contracts often receive much of their funding from the federal government as they can promote economic efficiency due to localized knowledge to implement a program more efficiently and effectively than the federal government (i.e., pass-through funding).

Contracts are basically either made through grant formulas or discretionary funding through federal, state, or government agencies. If we were to compare the two mechanisms, we would say that a contract has two parties exchanging promises where one party delivers and the other party pays.

A grant, however, has two parties wherein one party gives the money and another party performs the objectives in hopes of achieving them. A contract is legally binding, and nonperformance can be dealt with in court whereas nonperformance of a grant can result in the organization paying back monies and essentially being blacklisted.

Foundation Grants

A foundation grant is a monetary assistance provided to individuals and small businesses by companies, citizens, government, and non-government organizations. The money awarded as a grant is meant to meet particular needs and is not required to be repaid.

“A foundation is a non-governmental entity that is established as a nonprofit corporation or a charitable trust with a principal purpose of making grants to unrelated organizations, institutions, or individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes.” ~ GRANTSPACE

When you think of private foundations, think the Ford Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, local insurance companies in your community that have foundations, and the like.

Which grants should your nonprofit go after? Well, the wide answer is all of them.

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